Teacher Tools

7 Ways To Use Social Media for School Assignments  

Skype In Guest Speakers

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According to Teaching Blogs, one great way to enhance the classroom experience is to invite a guest speaker to the room. According to Social Media studies, one way to make this even better is to invite them to chat online. This way, anyone can provide more information about a topic and offer their own perspective. Plus, when students listen to a guest speaker, they can experience a day in the life of a professional! This helps them understand that what they are learning in class will help them in the real world.

However, coordinating these meetings are not always easy. Schedules are busy and lesson plans are full. Luckily, social media platforms like Skype, Whats App, and Facebook Messenger, can help overcome this. Instead of fitting in time for a guest speaker to come in, find 20 minutes that they can chat with the class online. All you have to is set up an account and project it on a screen for everyone to see. By using a social app like this, you can connect with a professional, no matter where they are, and learn something new.

2. Facebook Group Page

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Creating a class Facebook page can help share information. As a teacher, you can create one and edit privacy settings so that only you and your students can access it. Once the page is set up, invite students and encourage them to post in it. For example, tell them to share any questions in the page, post links to articles that apply to the class, or remind them of approaching deadlines. This open space to communicate provides white Thrive Hive calls an “efficient channel of communication.” Similar to the way a business can answer customers questions in Facebook comments, you can respond directly to students, or even invite them to respond to each other. This eliminates forwarding emails to TAs or students waiting on replies. On a class Facebook page, they would be instant!  

3. Facebook Polls

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Getting students’ feedback is not always easy, but setting up a Facebook poll to do this is. This is because a Facebook poll is fast and accessible. While every student may not take the time to go on to their student account and fill out a professional evaluation or answer a question in class, they all have the a Facebook account they can respond to posts with. Take the class page a step further and make it more interactive with a Facebook poll.  The next time you have a question on your mind, create a poll in the Facebook page. You can do this by following these steps here. Post it in class and ask students to vote instantly or post it over the weekend and ask them to respond by Monday. You could as a question like “What will help you study for next weeks Exam?”  Then, the poll responses could be “An in-class review,” or “A printable study guide.” See which response has the highest votes and plan accordingly. This way, the poll will help you connect with students’ preferences.

4. Instagram for Inspiration

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“Brainstorming” is a common  activity in the classroom. Whether students are working on a project or writing a paper, they are going to need ideas to start it. To get them thinking, offer time for an Instagram scroll. On this platform, students can surf through images, hashtags, and live stories. It’s basically like flipping through a magazine, but better, because it is all visual and virtual. Tell students to scroll for a certain amount of time, like 5 minutes, and screenshot 3 photos or profiles that inspire them. Once the 5 minutes is up, ask students to discuss their findings. What kind of photos did they screenshot? How did this help them come up with project ideas? Did they find any experts that they could interview? Perhaps stumbling on a beach photo gave them inspiration for creating a beach blog, or a CEO’s profile helped them chose a theme for their PowerPoint. No matter the assignment, using a social media network like Instagram could really get them to think about it. Plus, they like it! Check out this survey. It shows Instagram is not just useful, but popular too.

      5. Make a Twitter Announcement

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Instead of sending out a blast to canvas, tweet important information on Twitter. You can have students follow your twitter page and instruct them to update their notification settings. There is a way to turn on notifications specifically for your page. Once they are on, the app will notify them when you post. The notification will go straight to their phone, and you won’t ever have to hear “I didn’t see your email,” ever again. In this way, Twitter is a direct and easy way to reach students. Plus, you will be sure that they heard you. Set up a time limit so your blasts are organized. For example, tell your students that any course changes will be posted to Twitter before 5:00 p.m. If they don’t see a new tweet by then, they can rest assured that no new changes are happening. A course change may be like “Guest speaker tomorrow, bring a pencil and paper, no laptops. #Unplug.” By using Twitter to alert students of what is going on, everyone will come prepared.

     6. Tweet for Homework  

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Tired of reading discussion posts and two replies to fellow classmates? Have students discuss a topic in 140 characters or less. For example, have them read an article and tweet out a one-sentence summary of the information with at least one relevant hashtag. By using Twitter, student’s posts will be more concise, as they have to be short to post on the platform. Plus, this way of submitting work will keep them engaged. It is something new!

7. Answer Quiz Questions In Real Time  

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Finally, social media can help students communicate in real time in the classroom. Apps like Kahoot! and Top Hat allow instructors to create quizzes and students to select answers on their laptops. This allows everyone to participate, because everyone can vote, instead of the one student that is chosen to speak. Plus, even students that may not want to raise their hands will have a way of participating. Instead of speaking out, they can select their answer on the app. Worried about an antisocial classroom? Don’t worry, you can discuss students thought process or reasoning after they have all submitted their answers.  

Kahoot!

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You may have already seen this phrase in “7 Ways To Bring Social Media To The Classroom.” This article discusses the platform “Kahoot!” more in depth by explaining what is, how to get started, and the benefits of using it.  

What is it?

Kahoot! is a social platform that acts as a game of answering questions in the classroom. On the website, students and teacher can sign in and interact. Teachers will make the questions and students will answer them by selecting them on their laptops. When you use this feature in class, it will look like the image below.  

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How to get Started

To get started, you must go to Kahoot.com. Then, create an account. On your dashboard, you will see features like create a quiz, survey and more. Select which style you would like to use and create questions. The website offers multiple choice options for you to write in answers. Once your quiz is created, launch it and share the link in class. Then, let the fun being. For a more detailed manual, click the link here.

Basically, to get started, go to the Kahoot! website, make an account, follow the instructions, and create a quiz. Don’t forget to set a time limit on the quiz questions to keep things moving. Still need help? Watch this video for a step-by-step tutorial.

Image Courtesy of Kahoot

The Benefits

So, now that you know what is and how it works, what are the benefits of answering questions this way? According to EduTechSage, the key value of Kahoot! Is its engagement and  motivation. For example, students have to participate it in it real-time, so they will be focused in class and pay attention to questions. Plus, they will be motivated to respond because it is so easy. All they have to do is key in the answer on a laptop!  

How To Use Social Media And Keep Students Focused

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Of course, one major issue with social media is overuse. No teacher would want a classroom full of distracted students, especially by social media.

When it comes to bringing it to the classroom, there has to be guidelines to keep students focused.  

According to social media balance blogs, the best way to do this is to set clear expectations and control social media access. This could be done by setting time limits, specifying what platforms can be used, and what should be accomplished on them. By creating these guidelines, students will have rules to help them stay focused on the assignment at hand.  

For example, setting a time limit will encourage students to complete their task because they will have by a specific point. If they were to get distracted or use social media for other purposes during the time frame, they may not get the assignment done. This will motivate them to stay on track, as they will have to complete their work. By saying something like “Use this network for 5 minutes,” students will know they have 5 minutes to focus.  

To further set guidelines, professors should specify exactly what network their students should use.  “Use social media,” would be to vague because there are many platforms of it, and not all of them would fit every assignment. However, by saying “Use Instagram for 5 minutes,” students will know exactly what network to use, and for how long. This creates boundaries for what they can do with social media and guides them towards meeting their goals.  

Finally, these goals should be specified. In other words, explain the them what the purpose of using social media is. After they know how much time they will have to use it, and what network to use, they have to know why they are using it. In continuing with the Instagram example, saying what should be accomplished could be “Scroll through Instagram for 5 minutes and find an inspirational picture.” This step will ensure complete focus because students will know what is expected of them. By setting clear expectations, students will be able to meet them.  

Specifying what platform will be used, why it will be used, and for how long will allow students to focus on the assignment, and that’s the key to using social media in the classroom.

For more information on how to limit social media or use it efficiently, check out this link. It offers tips to restrict overuse in your own personal life.